Hamlin paces opening Martinville Cup practice

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Hamlin paces opening Martinville Cup practice


Hamlin paces opening Martinville Cup practice


Denny Hamlin was fastest Saturday in NASCAR Cup Series practice at Martinsville Speedway in a good effort off the hauler for his No. 11 team after they struggled at the track in the spring.

His fastest lap (95.916mph; 19.916s) was his third lap on the track and the fastest amongst the second group of drivers.

In the spring race, he struggled for pace and finished multiple laps down in 28th position. He is a five-time winner at Martinsville and goes into Sunday’s race (2:00 p.m. ET) below the playoff cutline.

Ryan Blaney was second fastest at 95.075mph. Chase Elliott was third (94.922mph), Kyle Larson was fourth (94.870mph), and Tyler Reddick fifth (94.827mph).

Erik Jones was sixth fastest at 94.808mph, William Byron was seventh at 94.794mph, Chase Briscoe was eighth at 94.780mph, Brad Keselowski was ninth at 94.756mph, and Aric Almirola was 10th fastest at 94.699mph.

Christopher Bell was 12th fastest in practice. Bell is second-to-last on the playoff grid and below a transfer spot by 33 points.

Ross Chastain was 18th fastest in practice. Joey Logano was 23rd fastest. Logano is the only driver who goes into Sunday’s elimination race locked into the championship finale.

Noah Gragson was 33rd fastest in practice in his final race filling in for Alex Bowman at Hendrick Motorsports.

Ryan Blaney was fastest in the best 10 consecutive lap average over William Byron, Chase Briscoe, Aric Almirola, and Chase Elliott.

There are 36 drivers entered in the Xfinity 500.